September 24, 2013

Lady Chicks skid ends at MacArthur

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


A few weeks ago, Chickasha softball head coach Dennis Furr mentioned his team would face some rough waters ahead as their season winds down.

Six games and two wins later, it's obvious he was right. Fortunately the skid was relatively short compared to the rest of Chickasha's season, and it's now over after a 6-3 win over Lawton-MacArthur to start this week.

"When you lose four in a row, you obviously want to get back on track," Furr said. "No body likes losing. But, if you have to take a step back to go forward, that's what we'll do."

Until the 4-1 loss to Muskogee on Sept. 13 at a Carl Albert tournament, the Lady Chicks were spotless, but that wasn't the goal from the start. If they had to lose a few to learn about themselves and their game more, Furr said, so long as it leads to a stronger push for the 5A state title, then so be it.

"I do feel like they learned from them," Furr said. "We still made a few mistakes [against MacArthur] but we controlled the game from the beginning. We actually had the chance to score a few more, but we also made some great double-plays."

Pitcher Kelsi Gore had eight strikeouts in the game to keep MacArthur from battling back after the Lady Chicks opened with a four-run first inning. The win takes Chickasha to 20-4 on the season and is an immediate rebound after a devastating loss to Tuttle last week.

Catcher Lynnsie Elam recorded a perfect three hits from three at-bats to lead Chickasha, while outfielder Shorty Clift went two-for-three from the plate with two stolen bases. 

MacArthur was held scoreless until the bottom of the third, when they halved Chickasha's lead with two runs of their own. Kameron Fisher was the main source of Highlanders offense, going three-for-four from the plate with an RBI. 

But the Lady Chicks' hitting could not be matched. MacArthur pitcher Ariel Enzenauer only had one strikeout as Chickasha put up 12 hits, three more than what they produced against the same opponent earlier in the season. The offensive firepower was spread evenly among Chickasha, with no fewer than six players recording an RBI.

So it seems the Lady Chicks have weathered this end-of-season storm and will now look to gain momentum this week with two more games Tuesday and Thursday night and a home tournament this weekend. But they won't exit the slide in the same manner they began. 

Furr has made the decision to drop lead-off hitter Tawn Neidy down to seventh or eighth at the moment, while fellow speedster Shorty Clift is leading the lineup. Neidy has found herself in tiny slump since the end of August, but that's not the reason the Lady Chicks have changed their lineup so late in the season. Short-stop Brighton Gilbert's recent eligibility meant change was needed, Furr said.

"We needed to switch things around to make the lineup more balanced," Furr said. "It wasn't because of [Neidy] not succeeding. And Tawn's not a two-hole hitter. We've had to move her to a place in the lineup where she is more effective for us."

Lower in the lineup, Neidy offers the opportunity for Chickasha to score more runs in a wrap-around by getting on base. At the other end, Clift only recently saw a thirteen game hitting streak stopped, and she's started back up again with three against Tuttle and two on Monday against MacArthur.